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October is Co-op Month in Wisconsin
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 10/02/2013

As Wisconsin kicks off Cooperative Month in October, there is new evidence that people prefer to do business with cooperatives over investor-owned businesses. That's according to Cooperative Network, which commissioned a survey through the St. Norbert College Strategic Research Institute that shows 47 percent of consumers in Wisconsin and Minnesota indicated they were members of a cooperative, of which 74 percent said that they were more likely to choose cooperatives over other businesses based on their past experiences.

The survey of 400 people also found that nearly half of the respondents indicated that there was at least one family member who belonged to a co-op. And 69 percent of people who ran a business within their home were also members of a cooperative.

"Minnesota and Wisconsin have a rich cooperative history and are home to nearly 2,000 cooperative businesses--one of the highest concentrations in the U.S.," said Bill Oemichen, president and CEO of Cooperative Network, which represents the interests of co-ops in both states. "Communities in these states have formed more than 30 types of co-ops to care for our children, bring electricity to our homes, put wholesome food on our tables and so much more."

Oemichen says Wisconsin was one of the first states to enact a law authorizing cooperatives in 1887.

Meanwhile, Governor Scott Walker has proclaimed October as Cooperative Month in the state. He says co-ops play a major role in Wisconsin's economy, annually recording about $8.6 billion in revenue, employing approximately 19,000 Wisconsin residents and paying nearly $780 million in wages and benefits each year.

The theme of this year's Cooperative Month is: "Collaborate, Communicate, Cooperate."

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